TO BE ZEALOUS, OR NOT TO BE ZEALOUSTHAT IS THE qUESTION!
“To be, or not to be, that is the question"
The Real Question
William Shakespeare originally penned these words in his famous work "Hamlet" in 1602 A.D. In a subtle, yet profound way, Shakespeare was dealing with the complexity of life versus the uncertainty of death, primarily death by suicide. “To be,” meaning to live, and “not to be,” meaning to commit suicide. That was his question!
My question is a little different. “To be zealous, or not to be zealous, that is the question.” Or to word it another way, “Do we exist to be zealous for Christ or do we exist to simply live, that is my question.”
Consider Paul’s exhortation to Titus:
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. 15 These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. – Titus 2:11-15 (NASB) (emphasis mine)
Here, Paul teaches that we weren’t saved simply to live life how we desire. No, Jesus had much more in mind for us than we can imagine (John 10:10). We all know that life can be very hard on all of us. Sure, it is easy to live in a way that keeps us feeling comfortable and secure. We all want to have the “warm fuzzies,” but Paul tells us that we must deny all ungodliness and worldly desires. He pleads with us to live sensibly and to pursue righteousness and godliness. Paul is telling us that we have to daily choose where we place our allegiance. Much like Joshua’s declaration:
15 "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15 (NASB)
A Call To Be Zealous!
God wants men and women who are willing to zealously live out their lives for His glory. How can we be zealous if we remain divided in our allegiance?
Who gave all to redeem us from sin and death, the world or Christ Jesus?
Who gave all to purify a people for their own possession, the world or Christ Jesus?
To whom should our allegiance side, the world or Christ Jesus?
Yes, Jesus Christ deserves our total allegiance! He should be the single greatest focus of our lives. We should be zealous in our devotion to Him and His Kingdom! According to the Oxford Dictionary, the term “zealous” means, “showing great energy and enthusiasm for something, especially because you feel strongly about it.” Do you show great energy and enthusiasm for Jesus Christ? Do you feel strongly about Him and His Kingdom? Does your lifestyle betray your feelings? Are you seeking to be a Zealous Christian or are you merely seeking to exist in comfort?
Today, many would be ashamed to be called zealous Christians or zealots. They believe people are ready to say of zealous people what Festus said of Paul: “Paul, you are out of your mind!” he shouted, "Your great learning is driving you mad" (Acts 26:24). In our society, zealots are labeled as bigots, extremist, fanatics, and radicals. We tend to shrink away from those erroneous labels. But I would argue that we should embrace the true meaning of zealous. In future articles, I plan to dive deeper into that meaning.
God Desires Our Zeal!
My purpose in this brief article has been to plead the cause of zeal in the believer’s life. I believe we ought not to be afraid of it, but rather to love and admire it. I believe it to be the origin of countless benefits to mankind as we seek to be “zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14). I want to remind my fellow Christians that we have been called to be zealous men and women.
J.C. Ryle, the Bishop of Liverpool in the 19th century, once stated,
"It may be a sad truth that one sinner destroys many good people; but it is also a blessed truth that one zealous Christian can do a lot of good. Yes: one single zealous man in a town, one zealous man in a congregation, one zealous man in a society, one zealous man in a family, may be a great blessing."
Do you long to be an influence to the common good? Do you desire to be a Christian who makes a difference in your lifetime? Do you hope to hear Jesus say the words, “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21, 23).
If so, then I hope you hear this as a clarion call to pursue a wide-ranging zealous faith that covers all facets of your life. We may be tempted to confuse zealous faith with excitement in gatherings, especially our large church services with music and emotional sensations. We Christians tend to associate zeal with specific activities such as preaching, singing and evangelism. However, to be zealous means to serve God at a high level in everything that you do! (1 Corinthians 10:31). We must not compartmentalize our zealousness! We must be all in! So for you and for me:
“To be zealous, or not to be zealous, that is the question.”
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- TO BE ZEALOUS, OR NOT TO BE ZEALOUS, THAT IS THE QUESTION - September 3, 2018
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